An Albany man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this month declined to offer an apology at his sentencing Wednesday, instead telling the court he will appeal decisions the judge made about evidence in pretrial hearings.
Kason Parker, 35, who pleaded guilty May 1 to killing his girlfriend Meghan Kiefer in Coram, was sentenced to the maximum 25 years to life, the same term Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei said he would impose when Parker changed his plea to guilty. Parker said he'll enter prison with his “head held high and his middle finger held even higher” as he awaits a decision on his appeal.
“I pled guilty not because I feel guilty. I pled guilty after evidence suppression rulings and the fact that I wasn’t given a fair and impartial trial,” Parker told Mazzei.
Parker said he prays “for the victim’s family but [owes] no one any apologies or explanations.” He said he believed Kiefer's family should apologize instead for the way they treated her while she was alive.
“That's one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard in my life,” Mazzei said of Parker's accusations against the family.
“You don't have a clue. You voluntarily pled guilty. That was your decision,” the judge said.
The judge reminded Parker that he was made aware of the sentence before entering his guilty plea and that he already waived his right to an appeal, a point Parker pushed back on.
“I don’t want to give you any more time [to speak] than you need,” Mazzei shouted as he cut him off. “And what you just said is disgusting. Shut up!”
Following the sentencing, Parker’s court-appointed defense attorney, Joseph Hanshe of Sayville, maintained that his client does have a right to appeal the pretrial hearings, which they believe adversely impacted his case. Hanshe said his client should have been granted a change of venue since the victim’s mother is employed by the district attorney’s office. He said they also plan to raise search and seizure issues on appeal.
“And there are other issues as well that we will not get into at this moment,” Hanshe told Newsday.
Tania Lopez, a spokesperson for Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, confirmed that Kiefer’s mother, Bevin Llanes, works in a nonattorney support position in the district attorney’s office, which she said was “disclosed to the court and counsel before the trial.” Lopez declined to comment further, noting the pending appeal.
In a victim impact statement she read during sentencing, Llanes described her daughter as a person who “wanted to love and to be loved.” She said she was approached at Kiefer’s funeral by people she had never met before who said her daughter “would help them when they were in dark places, even if she was in one too.”
Speaking outside the courtroom, Llanes said her focus is now on making sure Parker serves the minimum 25 years. She referenced bills pending in Albany that could allow him to be eligible for parole much sooner and said she’s worked to support opposing bills that strengthen existing laws to keep killers behind bars.
“I've advocated for my daughter most of her life in various ways, and this is my final advocacy,” Llanes said. “He intended to kill her. This wasn’t an act of passion.”
Kiefer, 27, was found stabbed 54 times in the front yard of her grandmother’s home in Coram on Oct. 23, 2021, prosecutors previously said. She was pronounced dead soon after at Stony Brook University Hospital with stab wounds to her head, neck and torso, injuring her brain, left lung, right jugular vein and spleen.
During opening arguments at trial, Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Eric Aboulafia said Kiefer was killed while ending her relationship with Parker. Prosecutors had planned to play for the jury dashboard camera footage that captured Parker confessing to a friend in the moments after the killing. Parker had installed the camera in his own vehicle, Aboulafia said.
Prosecutors had also planned to present DNA evidence that showed both Kiefer and Parker's blood on a knife they found in his vehicle, Aboulafia said at trial.
Parker and Kiefer had met and begun dating when they both lived in Albany, and she had recently moved back to Long Island, where she was staying at her grandmother’s house, prosecutors said.
Before sentencing Hanshe filed an affidavit on behalf of Parker requesting he be allowed to not attend the sentencing, but Mazzei ordered him to be present.
As Parker left the courtroom Wednesday, a supporter of Kiefer’s family shouted: “Enjoy your vacation.”
“I’ll be back,” he vowed as he was ushered away.